Crow Wisdom

Crow Wisdom
(An Irreverent Rumi-like Ramble)

The incontinent crow
Flying over my window
Bids adieu and screw you
To this year without cheer.
Crow wisdom:
Let go,
Let hope in,
Live.

2020/29/12
rita h kowats

Honor the Blooming

This poem by Wendell Berry, simple in the stark power it offers, has become the center piece in the Advent rituals of Seattle Mennonite Church (https://seattlemennonite.org). This season is offering me the opportunity to identify what is blooming in me now. Not what will bloom when covid passes. What booms now.

Berry’s poem invites us to fear not those ubiquitous travelers, dark feet and dark wings, for they are the essence of our humanity. They are the redeemed coals that smolder in the cauldrons of our souls, the sparks of light we bring into the dark and out of the dark.

Spiritual Practice

Breathing in I become the dark.
Breathing out I disperse light.

Breathing in I receive the bloom.
Breathing out I release despair.

Breathing in I am peace.
Breathing out I release anxiety.

May it be so.

Embracing the Dark

Sometimes the sanctity of our homes has felt instead like a jail cell in this pandemic. At times, we have collapsed into despair. Yet, other times we are embracing the dark creatively.

In addition to these thoughtful poems from Wendell Berry and Jan Richardson, I recommend Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor.

Photo Credit: https://lmw.org/gods-light-shines-in-the-darkness/

A Pandemic Prod

whew! The birth of this poem has released me. Heads up: It’s about facing death. Take care of yourself.

Death Not Imminent

I am not afraid of death
as much as I am
Reluctant
To begin the gut-wrenching
dismantling of my life…

I am not afraid of death
As much as I am
Irritated
by the numbing details
surrounding it.

Who helps decide when it’s time to go,
Who takes care of the penny pittance sitting in Chase,
Who takes my body to which crematorium?
One issue resolved,
Another emerges.

Death Not Imminent

But…
Walk with me,
Reluctance.
Take phone in hand,
(the one loaded with a covid response app)
and begin the journey toward
that sweet soul-space left behind
when the unclenching is done.

The space of abundant emptiness.

c.Rita H Kowats November 27, 2020

Election 2020: Vigil Prayer

A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark

Go slow
if you can.
Slower.
More slowly still.
Friendly dark
or fearsome,
this is no place
to break your neck
by rushing,
by running,
by crashing into
what you cannot see.

Then again,
it is true:
different darks
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
in peril
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.

I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
or ill.
It is not for me
to reckon
whether you should linger
or you should leave.

But this is what
I can ask for you:

That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
your name.

—Jan Richardson

In Circle Of Grace: A Book Of Blessings For The Seasons

FLIGHT OF FANCY

Flight of Fancy (for my Canadian friends)

(Genesis 19:26)

Last evening as we sat on the balcony
luxuriating in the lush autumn sun,
a flock of Canada geese lifted
off the lakeside, dwarfing us mere mortals.
If they had pooped
we would have been entombed
in white slime, not unlike Lot’s wife
entombed in salt.

Like her, we look back at the past year
which feels like an onslaught of geese poop.
We’ve been children hiding behind our ego forts, desperately heaving giant poop balls
at the “winter of our discontent.”

How we long to hitch a ride
on the backs of Canada geese
and head for their homeland where, of course,
life is greener…
always greener on the other side.

Lest we meet the fate of one who looked back,
we turn
setting out ready to grow
our own green grass.

♡ rita h kowats 10/16/20

Photo Credit: JSTORdaily.org

Solace: Offering And Receiving

In this strange stretch of time, we take turns needing and giving solace. What we receive today we give tomorrow. May spirit guide us to pay attention to others’ need for solace and offer it; that we have the humility to accept solace when it is offered. It’s simple. “Shine your shoes. Fill your refrigerator. Water your plants. Make some soup.” Say thank you. And together we will survive.

Solace Blessing

That’s it.
That’s all this blessing knows how to do:

Shine your shoes.
Fill your refrigerator.
Water your plants.
Make some soup.

All the things
you cannot think
to do yourself
when the world has come apart,
when nothing will be normal again.

Somehow
this blessing knows
precisely what you need,
even before
you know.

It sees what will bring
the deepest solace
for you.
It senses what will offer
the kindest grace.

And so it will step
with such quietness
into the ordinary moments
where the absence
is the deepest.

It will enter
with such tenderness
into the hours where the sorrow
is most keen.

You do not even
have to ask.
Just leave it open—
your door, your heart,
your day
in every aching moment it holds.

See what solace
spills through the gaps
your sorrow has torn.

See what comfort
comes to visit,
holding out its gifts
in each compassionate hand.

Jan Richardson in The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief

Here We Are. Send Us.

John Quinn closes his book of essays, Walking in Wonder with this poem. Poet and mystic John O’Donohue died in 2008 and this stanza was penned by Quinn after the celebration of his life.

Envoi

Sometimes
A voice is sent
To calm our deepest fears

Sometimes
A hearty laugh
Will banish all our tears

Sometimes
Words will wing
Our dreaming ever higher

And sometimes
A mind will set
Our imagining afire

John Quinn

In Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World by John O’Donohue and John Quinn

Here we are.

Send us.

In Memoriam RBG

El Malei Rachamim – God Full of Compassion

God, full of mercy, Who dwells above, give rest on the wings of the Divine Presence, amongst the holy, pure and glorious who shine like the sky, to the soul of Ruth Bader Ginsburg…for whom prayer was offered in the memory of her soul. Therefore, the Merciful One will protect her soul forever, and will merge her soul with eternal life. The Everlasting is her heritage, and she shall rest peacefully at her lying place, and let us say: Amen.

In Memoriam RBG

We fold our splintered spirits
Into the waiting arms
Of the Crescent goddess
And hang on to the last vestiges
Of hope smoldering in the ashes
Of our rancorous discontent.

May our god full of compassion
Grant compassion to
Your abandoned ones
Bereft and beset with despair.
Unleash her holy audacity
In an outpouring of strength
That will pry us from the comfort
Of our grief.

May we rest in peace with her-
Not a “piecemeal peace,”
But a peace
That “comes with work to do…
Comes to sit and brood.”*

Amen

c. Rita H Kowats 09/19/2020

*Gerard Manley Hopkins Peace